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Don’t die wondering…

- 17th December 2020 - 

#cuisine

Lunatic & Lover is the newest rum on the market and, like its name suggests, is unlike any rum you’ve tasted before…

The meeting…

As New Zealand’s first and only distiller of botanical rum, Lunatic & Lover was created by Matt Bridge and partner Angie Bradley. The duo met in the Caribbean where Bridge had been living. It was over a few rums that the idea of making his own version came about. After researching rum distilling and taking some courses, Bridge headed to Scotland to gain a qualification in distilling. Back in NZ, and armed with a 1L still, he set about testing around 50 botanicals to narrow down the final ingredients.


The name…

The pair established the distillery in 2019 and took inspiration for the name from a line in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of imagination all compact.” It’s this idea of imagination and all its possibilities that drives the creativity at the brand.


The process…

Instead of simply mixing spices into the rum for flavour, Bridge uses vapour distillation (and a little maceration) to capture the heart of each of the 11 spices, fruits, and native herbs in his recipe. The result is a crystal-clear rum with lifted citrus and herbal characters and earthy spice overlying a backbone of deep, rich molasses. For their Barrel Rested rum, they put this same product into a ex-Bourbon barrels to soak and a new flavour is created. For both products there’s absolutely no added sugar, essences, flavourings, or colourings.


The ingredients…

The ingredients are all sourced locally where possible: molasses from the nearby Chelsea Sugar Factory; native mairehau that Bridge forages from a nearby beach suburb; and oranges, bay leaf, dandelion, and burdock root, orris root and horopito from NZ growers.


The botanicals…

There are 11 botanicals meddling around in a bottle of Lunatic & Lover including roasted dandelion and burdock root, horopito, mairehau, orange peel, nutmeg, pimento, bay leaf, orris root, cacao nib, coffee bean and green cardamom.


The Range…

Lunatic & Lover have two distinct products:

Silver Botanical Rum – A sophisticated and complex spirit with light citrus top notes, layered over distinctive herbal and spice. Underpinned with an earthy, warm base. This plays well with tonic or any other mixers

Barrel Rested - This is where they take their Silver Botanical Rum and put it away to rest in ex-Bourbon barrels for a few months to coax a little bit of magic from the wood. For this, some of the lighter, more ethereal aromas take a back seat as the spirit absorbs the vanilla and caramel flavours from the charred American Oak as well as tannin to give body and structure.


The bottle…

The beautifully detailed artwork of the Lunatic & Lover bottle was done by Creative Director Nick O’Laz. The design is laser etched into the distinctive bottles, hinting at the complex rum inside.


The drink…

“We do have to let people know what it is and why it’s different,” says Bridge. They suggest the first taste should be neat and then you can get experimental. As well as being an excellent sipping rum, Lunatic & Lover is also perfect for sophisticated cocktails.


The verdict…

Angie Bradley says educating people around what rum can be is an important part of the Lunatic & Lover experience, “you know it’s a rum because as soon as it’s in your mouth you can taste the molasses…but then your imagination just goes wild.”


The future…

Lunatic & Lover has secured a range of retail stockists and have recently released their Lunatic & Lover Barrel Rested; for which Bridge aged the Silver Rum in ex-bourbon barrels for six months. The couple says consumer and trade response has been fantastic and are already looking ahead, “I’ve got a few things I want to have a play with,’ says Bridge.


Visit their website to purchase a bottle for yourself or sign up to their LOL club; an exclusive club where you’ll receive all the up-to-date news, events, product launches and offers.


lunaticandlover.com